Research Focus

We study ion channels in all their facets. TRP channels, the superfamily of transient receptor potential channels, are our favourites.

Molecular analysis of TRP channel function

How do TRP channels work?

By combining cellular assays (patch-clamp and imaging) with site-directed mutagenesis and biophysical modeling, we aim at a deeper understadning of the structure-function relation in TRP channels. This information is essential to understand the physiological role of TRP channels, the consequences of disease-causing mutations and the action of pharmaceutical compounds. 

  1. Mulier, M., J. Vriens, and T. Voets, TRP channel pores and local calcium signals. Cell Calcium, 2017. 66: p. 19-24. [PM] [DOI]
  2. Janssens, A., et al., Definition of two agonist types at the mammalian cold-activated channel TRPM8. Elife, 2016. 5. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  3. Held, K., et al., Activation of TRPM3 by a potent synthetic ligand reveals a role in peptide release. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2015. 112(11): p. E1363-72. [PM] [DOI] [Limo
  4. Vriens, J., et al., Opening of an alternative ion permeation pathway in a nociceptor TRP channel. Nat Chem Biol, 2014. 10(3): p. 188-95. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  5. Alpizar, Y.A., et al., Allyl isothiocyanate sensitizes TRPV1 to heat stimulation. Pflugers Arch, 2014. 466(3): p. 507-15. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  6. Gees, M., et al., Mechanisms of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 activation and sensitization by allyl isothiocyanate. Mol Pharmacol, 2013. 84(3): p. 325-34. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  7. Voets, T., Quantifying and modeling the temperature-dependent gating of TRP channels. Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol, 2012. 162: p. 91-119. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]

Cell biology oF TRP channels

How are TRP channels regulated and transported?

Where are TRP channels located in the cell, and how do they get there? What are the cellular signaling pathways that interfere with TRP channel expression or function or that are modulated by TRP channel activity? We combine molecular techniques with advanced imaging approaches and electrophysiology to address these questions.

  • Alpizar, Y.A., et al., TRPV4 activation triggers protective responses to bacterial lipopolysaccharides in airway epithelial cells. Nat Commun, 2017. 8(1): p. 1059. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Ghosh, D., et al., VAMP7 regulates constitutive membrane incorporation of the cold-activated channel TRPM8. Nat Commun, 2016. 7: p. 10489. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Toth, B.I., et al., Regulation of the transient receptor potential channel TRPM3 by phosphoinositides. J Gen Physiol, 2015. 146(1): p. 51-63. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Mrkonjic, S., et al., TRPV4 participates in the establishment of trailing adhesions and directional persistence of migrating cells. Pflugers Arch, 2015. 467(10): p. 2107-19. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Meseguer, V., et al., TRPA1 channels mediate acute neurogenic inflammation and pain produced by bacterial endotoxins. Nat Commun, 2014. 5: p. 3125. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Ghosh, D., A. Segal, and T. Voets, Distinct modes of perimembrane TRP channel turnover revealed by TIR-FRAP. Sci Rep, 2014. 4: p. 7111. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  • Vandewauw, I., G. Owsianik, and T. Voets, Systematic and quantitative mRNA expression analysis of TRP channel genes at the single trigeminal and dorsal root ganglion level in mouse. BMC Neurosci, 2013. 14: p. 21. [PM] [DOI] [Limo

In vivo function of TRP channels

What are TRP channels good for?

A key fundamental question that can be asked for any TRP channel is: what is the channel doing in a living organism? We address this question using a large variety of ex vivo and in vivo assays, to evaluate how elimination or stimulation of TRP channel activity impacts on the physiology of cells, organs and organisms. Knowing the role of TRP channels in control conditions is essential to understand how TRP channel dysfunction can lead to various pathologies.  

  1. Vandewauw, I., et al., A TRP channel trio mediates acute noxious heat sensing. Nature, 2018, 555(7698): p. 662-666. [PM
  2. Soldano, A., et al., Gustatory-mediated avoidance of bacterial lipopolysaccharides via TRPA1 activation in Drosophila. Elife, 2016. 5. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  3. Menigoz, A., et al., TRPM4-dependent post-synaptic depolarization is essential for the induction of NMDA receptor-dependent LTP in CA1 hippocampal neurons. Pflugers Arch, 2016. 468(4): p. 593-607. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  4. Held, K., et al., Activation of TRPM3 by a potent synthetic ligand reveals a role in peptide release. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2015. 112(11): p. E1363-72. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  5. Vriens, J., B. Nilius, and T. Voets, Peripheral thermosensation in mammals. Nat Rev Neurosci, 2014. 15(9): p. 573-89. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  6. Vriens, J., et al., Opening of an alternative ion permeation pathway in a nociceptor TRP channel. Nat Chem Biol, 2014. 10(3): p. 188-95. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]
  7. Mathar, I., et al., Increased beta-adrenergic inotropy in ventricular myocardium from Trpm4-/- mice. Circ Res, 2014. 114(2): p. 283-94. [PM] [DOI] [Limo]